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How Often Should Weighing Scales Be Calibrated?

Supplier: AccuWeigh By: Bill Ambrose
30 March, 2017

Weighing scales play an important part in many different industrial processes but over time, these precision instruments can become less accurate and less reliable.

A number of things can affect the performance of weighing scales such as their workload, how old they are, rigorous use, whether they’re moved from place to place frequently, temperature variations, power surges, dust, humidity and other environmental factors and re-calibration is the only way of ensuring consistently accurate readings.

Weighing inaccuracies can be costly too.  Customers can be overcharged or undercharged, production line re-runs may be required to correct mistakes, stock losses may be incurred, productivity will take a knock and there could be expensive unplanned downtime.

So, how often should scales be calibrated?

It’s a good question but given that there are so many variables involved and so many different types of scales, each of which has its own manufacturer’s recommendations, there actually isn’t a definitive answer.   The point is that in order to deliver consistent, reliable and accurate measurements, any weighing equipment has to be kept in proper working order so the best policy is to ensure that your weighing equipment is inspected and maintained on a regular basis.

Regular calibration may also be required in order to comply with ISO or other quality assurance procedures, so the frequency of calibration will be determined by the contractual requirements.  

Calibration intervals may also be determined by the contracts you have with customers - and in some instances, your weighing scales may have to be inspected by government agencies to ensure that they are legal for trade.  Also, being able to guarantee that you are providing your customers with 100% accurate product weights is hugely important and will strengthen relationships and build trust and confidence in your service delivery, which makes regular assessment of your weighing equipment all the more vital.  

The company doing the calibration should issue an inspection and test report and if the weighing equipment is trade-approved, they should issue a Certification Form for the Trade Measurement Authority.

So, when it comes to the question of how often you should calibrate your scales, here are some factors to consider:

  • How often is the weighing scale used?
  • What is the scale used for? (Some applications may put the scale at risk of corrosion or rust and it will need to be cleaned properly and assessed more regularly)
  • How demanding are the operating conditions?
  • Is the scale subjected to extreme environmental factors such as heat, cold, frequent temperature variations, snow, lightning, humidity, dust or water?
  • Are the scales washed down repeatedly?
  • Where is the scale being stored and is it moved around frequently?
  • How old is the scale?
  • What are the manufacturer’s recommendations?

Ideally, the company doing the calibration testing should be a reputable service provider who can guarantee that their staff are fully trained, experienced and independently assessed as highly competent through accreditation by the Trade Measurement Authorities.   And if your weighing instruments (such as laboratory balances and precision platform scales) require NATA calibration reports and performance certificates, you need to ensure that you use a NATA-accredited metrology laboratory.

AccuWeigh is Australia's largest provider of scale service and scale testing through its eight branches located across Australia and has the largest number of fully trained and highly experienced technicians who are fully equipped to perform scale calibrations for all client requirements.  So, if you need expert advice on how often you should calibrate your weighing equipment, be it anything from a high accuracy laboratory balance to a 200 ton capacity trade-approved weighbridge, you should give AccuWeigh’s experienced service staff  a call on 08 9259 5535 or contact them via their website, www.accuweigh.com.au.